So, my relationship with my own name has always been a little complicated. It’s Dena, spelled D-E-N-A. It's not Dina or Deena or Deana Or Deanna. There are not a ton of people with my name, therefore, my parents did not have to spend my childhood wondering what to do if someone steals your baby name. On some days, I totally appreciate the fact that it’s less common, and how I’m usually the only one in the room (OK, in the building) who has it. Other times, I think my life would be easier if it was spelled in the way most people assume it’s spelled, or if I would have been able to find personalized keychains as a kid, or if I didn’t have to repeat myself every time I’m introduced to someone for the first time (“Nice to meet you, Tina.”). I realize that these are very minor irritations; They barely even register on the list of problems one might have. Like, if there was such a list, these would be right after the struggle of trying to lift the first piece of pie out of the dish without turning it into a sloppy mess, but just before having to sit closer to the screen than you would have wanted at a movie theater because you didn’t get there early enough. Like, these are non-problems. I get that.
But, as you can probably imagine, these complicated feelings about my own name certainly came into play when trying to name my son. Ultimately, I think my partner and I did a pretty good job with naming: We went with something that’s in the top 100 boys names, but we opted to spell it in a less-popular way (although we still picked a normal way to spell it, FOR THE RECORD). Our son is almost two, and for the most part, I’ve felt great about our choice.
That is, until someone we know used the same name. Guys, I didn't even know that this was something to be upset about until it was happening and I was upset. It turns out, someone stealing your baby name (stealing) is a pretty real emotional situation. Allow me to walk you through the onslaught of feelings that have since ensued: